Chris Riddell, author/illustrator of the Goth Girl series, is the new Waterstones Children’s Laureate. The announcement was made at BAFTA in London’s Piccadilly, where Riddell received a specially commissioned solid silver medal and a £15,000 bursary cheque. In his new position, he is especially keen to promote visual literacy, by encouraging families to keep picture-filled diaries, and appearing at live events. He will also be championing the importance of school libraries and inspiring librarians.
Riddell said: “I am humbled to take on this role after the giants that have come before me. I want to put the joy of creativity, of drawing every day, of having a go and being surprised at what one can achieve with just a pencil and an idea at the heart of my term as Laureate. I want to make sure people have fun whilst addressing fundamental issues I care about passionately.”
James Daunt, Waterstones Managing Director, said: “The Laureate performs an important role in bringing issues of literacy to public attention, and each does it in their own inimitable style. We at Waterstones could not be happier at Chris’s appointment: he is a firm favourite of our booksellers and of by far our most important customers – the young readers of the United Kingdom. We will be very proud to support him over the next two years.”
Riddell has won the Kate Greenaway Medal for illustration twice for Pirate Diary: The Journal of Jake Carpenter and Gulliver, as well as being shortlisted for the prize for The Graveyard Book written by Neil Gaiman.
Riddell celebrated his new role with a series of drawings depicting past Children Laureates including Quentin Blake, Anne Fine, Michael Morpurgo, Jacqueline Wilson, Michael Rosen, Anthony Browne, Julia Donaldson and Malorie Blackman, as well as himself as the current Laureate.